Making a paper towel holder
This page is about making a paper towel holder for a spot in my brother's kitchen. Or maybe it's about using some of my fancy tools — I had some ideas for techniques I wanted to try on this project, which inspired me to do it.
To make a small knob on the end, I first rounded the top of it with a 1/2" round over bit.
I then tilted my router lift to 45 degrees so that I could cut more of the knob shape with the cutter.
I positioned the fence so that the middle of the dowel was just over the bit, and clamped a piece of wood as a side stop above the router bit guide bearing, then slowly rotated the dowel over the router.
There are tricks for cutting a tenon into the end of a dowel, but all the conventional tricks amplify any error in roundness of the dowel onto the tenon, and this dowel wasn't very round to begin with.
I mounted a 1½" fender washer as a template, and installed a ¾" guide bearing. With a ¼" bit on the router, that makes for a ⅞" tenon. Referring to the formula for template size from this page:
Ttemplate = 2 * Ttenon + ( 2 * Dcutter - Dbearing)
Plugging in my numbers:
I can see that it works out. Though I have to admit, I didn't actually use that formula :)
I started with a ¼" bit and a ½" guide bearing, so I knew it would reproduce the template at half scale. The 1½" washer would make a ¾" tenon. I wanted to make the tenon bigger, but not having any washers larger than 1½", I switched to a ¾" bearing. That adds ¼" to the template, or ⅛" to the tenon, for ⅞".
Next doing the alignment. I wanted to cut the tenon in the center of the dowel (though the exact position was not that critical). With the guide bearing directly above the template, the router bit should be directly above the dowel. This ensures side-to-side alignment.
While sanding, the piece got away on me. I'm really not very careful with the belt sander, because the prospect of injury is so slim. When smaller objects get away on me, I usually scuff the tips of my fingers a little bit. With this one, I didn't make contact with the sandpaper. Looking at the video, it took five video frames (166 milliseconds) to start pulling my hands back after the piece got caught.
Rounding the edges with a ¼" round over bit on my other (older) router lift. I usually leave the round over bit in this router.
Gluing it together. The glue made the pieces swell up a bit, so I was only able to press it in two thirds of the way with my hands. Always keep a rubber mallet within reach when doing glue-ups. Time is of the essence.
The paper towel holder is for a spot on the wall in my brother's kitchen, where a phone used to be attached. By making it the same size as the phone, the spot can cover up the different colour paint in that spot.
We took a photo of the spot with a ruler held against the wall as a scale reference
Using my BigPrint program, I used "calibrate by scale" to scale the ruler on the printout exactly 1:1 Here, I'm checking the printed ruler's scale against a tape measure.
You can see the outline of where the holder needs to go. It's hard to see in the printout because I printed it light to save ink. So I outlined the edge with a pen.
I could see the existing black anchor holes through the back of the paper. I used an awl to punch those locations into the plywood.
I then drilled holes in the plywood to exactly match the anchor hole positions.
I had to add some drywall anchors to the holes in the wall. The paper towel holder fit nicely onto them. It ended up only about 0.5 mm off vertical along it's height. I was pretty happy with that, considering the inaccuracy of dealing with existing holes in drywall.
Sometimes it's fun to do a simple project with minimal tools. But this wasn't that kind of project. This one was more about finding creative uses for fancy tools.